Document Detail

Flexible categorization of relative stimulus strength by the optic tectum.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21613487     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Categorization is the process by which the brain segregates continuously variable stimuli into discrete groups. We report that patterns of neural population activity in the owl optic tectum (OT) categorize stimuli based on their relative strengths into "strongest" versus "other." The category boundary shifts adaptively to track changes in the absolute strength of the strongest stimulus. This population-wide categorization is mediated by the responses of a small subset of neurons. Our data constitute the first direct demonstration of explicit categorization of stimuli by a neural network based on relative stimulus strength or salience. The finding of categorization by the population code relaxes constraints on the properties of downstream decoders that might read out the location of the strongest stimulus. These results indicate that the ensemble neural code in the OT could mediate bottom-up stimulus selection for gaze and attention, a form of stimulus categorization in which the category boundary often shifts within hundreds of milliseconds.
Shreesh P Mysore; Eric I Knudsen
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience     Volume:  31     ISSN:  1529-2401     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Neurosci.     Publication Date:  2011 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-05-26     Completed Date:  2011-08-04     Revised Date:  2014-09-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8102140     Medline TA:  J Neurosci     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  7745-52     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Neurons / classification*,  physiology*
Photic Stimulation / methods*
Reaction Time / physiology*
Strigiformes / physiology*
Superior Colliculi / physiology*
Grant Support
9 R01 EY019179-30/EY/NEI NIH HHS; R01 EY019179/EY/NEI NIH HHS; R01 EY019179-30/EY/NEI NIH HHS

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